24H Spa

Comtoyou Racing clinches historic Aston Martin victory as record crowd celebrates centenary CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa

GT World Challenge Europe
Intercontinental GT Challenge
1 Jul. 2024 • 8:02

Comtoyou Racing has won the 2024 CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa for Aston Martin, securing a place in history by triumphing at an unforgettable centenary event that drew 99,500 spectators to the Ardennes venue.


The result is made all the more remarkable by the fact that the winning Vantage AMR GT3 was making its debut at the biggest GT race in the world, while the Comtoyou squad did not begin working with the British brand until earlier this year. But while the car triumphed at the first time of asking, today's victory was the first for Aston Martin since the 1948 edition.


At an event that is now more international than ever, the triumphant squad at the centenary flew the Belgian flag. Starting from 14th, the crew of Nicki Thiim, Marco Sørensen and Mattia Drudi moved up the order during the opening phase and safely navigated a night of heavy rain showers that restricted green flag running during the hours of darkness.


By mid-morning, the leading contenders were the #998 ROWE Racing BMW, the #7 Aston Martin and the #51 AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors Ferrari. As midday approached, they were separated by less than a second and running to a similar pit stop schedule. A little after 12:30 the BMW and the Aston Martin stopped at the same time, the ROWE machine just beating the Comtoyou car out. The BMW got slightly loose as the cars crested the hill to rejoin the circuit, perhaps costing it and the pursuing Aston Martin a fraction of time.


The Ferrari had stopped one lap earlier and was at full speed through Raidillon. Powering on to the Kemmel Straight, Alessandro Pier Guidi was able to blast past both the BMW and the Aston Martin before the cars had reached Les Combes. Just a few corners later, the #7 Vantage had also overhauled the BMW. Freshly installed at the wheel, Thiim wasted no time in making his presence felt by muscling past Max Hesse and into second spot.


Over the next few hours, the Ferrari built a 10-second gap at the head of the field and seemed on course for victory when it pulled in for its final stop with 50 minutes left. But in a moment of incredible misfortune for the Italian squad, it arrived at the pit entrance to find a stricken Lamborghini blocking its way.


As the moments slipped by, a likely victory slipped away. The Lamborghini was eventually removed and the Ferrari completed its stop, but the lost time would prove decisive. When the Aston Martin undertook its final service a few minutes later, it returned to the track at the head of the field. Drudi held an advantage of 25 seconds and did not put a foot wrong over the final 45 minutes. When the chequered flag fell, the celebrations could begin in the Comtoyou Racing garage.


There was more late drama to come. The #998 BMW had been on course for runner-up but was set to overrun the maximum stint length. Facing a penalty, the car ran through the pit lane on the final lap, dropping it to sixth in the final classification. The #51 Ferrari fought back to secure a runner-up finish, Pier Guidi delivering a blistering final stint on a day of bitter disappointment. The centenary edition will rightly be remembered for an Aston Martin victory, but it will also go down as a winning performance from the Ferrari. 


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